This week we celebrated the memory of four Martyrs of the Church, Saints Sophia, Pistis, Elpis and Agape. Their beautiful names are translated in English as wisdom, faith, hope and love. Saint Sophia was the mother of three daughters, Pistis, Elpis and Agape, The martyrdom of an entire family shows the spirit of sacrificial love that was inspired by our Lord Jesus Christ and imitated by His Saints.
The pain of a mother who sees her children suffer is comforted by her faith in God, who received their souls in His eternal Kingdom. The glory of holiness is everlasting and it comforts the temporary pain and tribulations of this life. After all, today, we do not honor the persecutors and the fanatics who attempted to extinguish all Christians; we do, however, celebrate the memory of those who persevered in the faith and who inspire many generations with their bravery, love, faith and courage.
The Greek word Sophia (=wisdom) is a concept frequently mentioned in the Bible and in divine services. In the Old Testament, wisdom is the awe for God and the love for fulfilling His commandments. There are people who are intelligent, but they are not wise. There are persons who possess scientific and other knowledge, yet, they use it for evil, not for good. Human beings are the only creatures who destroy others, themselves and the environment they live in; man is capable of destroying the planet and everything in it many times over. Why? Basically, lack of wisdom, not lack of knowledge. It is ideal for a person to possess both secular knowledge and spiritual wisdom. Just like the Three Hierarchs and many of our Saints. Christians should excel academically and scholastically. But, we should not criticize someone who happened to be illiterate: that person might go to Heaven, like Saint Anthony. Wisdom is the measure of holiness; the daughters of wisdom are faith (knowing and doing the will of God), hope (expectation of Heaven and eternal life and trust in God’s will and Testament) and love (love for God, philanthropy, love for everyone and creation, sacrificial caring and giving and divine Grace). These three virtues are the building blocks that make a human truly wise!
+Economos Nikiforos Fakinos